Gays in China speak up

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"Four centuries after China pioneered female same sex unions (there were occasionally male ones also) and less than a decade after homosexuality was declassified as a mental illness by the ruling Communist Party, campaigners for the freedom to marry for China’s 60 million gays and lesbians are finding a large audience for their views.

"Couples campaigning for acceptance are even holding unofficial weddings, and being covered sympathetically in the state-run press in the world’s most populous nation. For example on Valentine’s Day in China Daily and a much longer piece in April 2010. Indeed, on Valentine’s Day, thirty Chinese gay and lesbian rights activists gathered near Tiananmen Square in Beijing, posing in wedding photos to publicize their cause. Imagine that!

"The Beijing LGBT centre is issuing it’s own homemade marriage certificates to couples wanting a tangible expression of their shared commitment.

"Li Yinghe, an academic at the prestigious Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, has repeatedly proposed legalising marriage equality, but thinks the Chinese political system must develop first.

“'When there are ways to deliver these demands, this issue can be put on the agenda. Maybe it will take 10 years – maybe it needs decades,” she told several news outlets early 2010.

"Li’s research in cities suggests about 91% of people are happy to work with gay colleagues – a higher rate than in US surveys – and that 30% back the freedom to marry."

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